William Beckwith McInnes

William Beckwith McInnes was an important artist who was born in St. Kilda on the 18th May 1889. His parents were Malcolm McInnes and Alice Agnes Beckwith. Because he was a sickly child with a congenital heart condition he was encouraged to learn art. He attended the National Gallery School of Fine Art where he studied drawing under Frederick McCubbin and later painting under Bernard Hall. 

In 1912 he travelled to Europe where he spent over two years painting landscapes. During 1916 he succeeded Frederick McCubbin as drawing master of the gallery school and then became temporary director of the art gallery after the death of Bernard Hall in 1935.

McInnes won the Wynne prize in 1918, the Archibald prize seven times (in succession 1921-24) and exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 1928

Portraits of well-known Australians occupied most of his life but he also loved to paint landscapes, particularly in the area around Alphington (Lucerne), where he moved after marrying Violet Muriel Musgrave in February 1915. The area in which he lived is now part of the LaTrobe Golf links. He died in East Melbourne on 9th November 1939.

Northcote Historical & Conservation Society. (1988). Northcote: Glimpses of Our Past. Northcote, Vic: Author.

Pike, Douglas., Nairn, Bede., & Serle, Geoffrey (eds.) (1981). Australian Dictionary of Biography, Carlton, Vic: Melbourne University Press.